Spinning FAQ

kromski spinning wheelNeed help with your spinning wheel? Check out these most frequently asked questions for help.

The belt of my spinning wheel keeps jumping off!

Check the alignment of your drive wheel, bobbin and your whorl.  Make sure these are in sync. You may need to loosen the mechanisms that hold your drive wheel and mother of all in place, adjust these so that both whorl and bobbin are aligned with the large wheel on your spinning wheel. This should do the trick.

The drive belt of my spinning wheel just broke, what now?

You can easily make a new spinning wheel belt.  A length of sturdy non stretchy cotton string will do. You can apply a light wax coating to make sure your belt will not slip by pulling the cotton across a candle or a piece of paraffin. You can also purchase a stretch poly belt in many colors to fit your wheel.

My spinning wheel does not want to go in the right direction. What am I doing wrong?

This often happens to beginning spinners. You are not alone! Try to treadle clockwise and evenly for about 15 minutes You can watch TV during this time, so your movements will become automatic and even without paying much attention to it. Just remember it takes practice J and it will become second nature.

Do I need to oil my spinning wheel, and if so where?

spinning wheel oil

All manufacturers recommend that you oil your spinning wheel on a regular basis. Please see their recommendations.  If your do not have oiling instructions just remember that you want to oil any moving parts. These generally are: the orifice, in front and in back of the spinning wheel bobbin, the back of the flyer, left and right of the treadle(s) the treadle support (if you have one), the footmen, and the hub. Some spinning wheels have sealed ball bearings in the hub and flyer, if that is the case you do not need to oil these.

 When your wheel is squeaking, then it is high time to oil. Your wheel is speaking to you, begging for oil. Just like in any car, oil is the best thing you can do for your wheel. You can get an oil bottle with a needle tip so that oiling is easier for you.

I am so frustrated with my spinning. My yarns have all these little “corkscrews” in it. What is going on?

You have too much twist in your yarn. Either slow down your treadling or speed up your drafting. This is perfectly normal if you are a beginning spinner. Just keep going, your yarn will get more even as you go. Once you have mastered spinning a fine yarn, you may just go back and want to spin thick and thin, twisted art yarn.

My yarn is falling apart, help!

This is the opposite situation of above. You do not have enough twist in your yarn. Speed up your treadling before you let the yarn go into the orifice. Both instances may also be helped by choosing an easy to spin fiber like out Potluck Roving. It is also helpful if you have a double treadle spinning wheel, rather than a single treadle, since you can control the drive wheel of your spinning wheel more with a double treadle.

Everything starts out fine, but after just a few moments it is difficult for me to draft out any fiber. It seems they are stuck together

Watch your “pinch point” when you are drafting. Remember: twist is like water, it will level itself out and go anywhere if you let it. Do not let your twist travel up into the fiber that has not been drafted, by maintaining a “pinch point” while drafting. Once you have spun a little longer, you will be able to control the fiber better and you will not need a definite pinch point, but it is helpful for beginning spinners.

I want to start spinning, should I start with a drop spindle? I really want a spinning wheel

Your wishes can be fulfilled. Learning to spin on a spinning wheel is not harder, most spinners say it is easier. Drop spindles however have the low cost advantage and are very portable. Just make sure you pick the spinning wheel that is right for you. Find out how to choose a spinning wheel.

I just bought an antique spinning wheel, but parts are missing

Sorry folks, we hear this over and over again. While you may have found a gem of a spinning wheel at a ridiculously low price, chances are that you got what you paid for. There are some very beautiful, well working antique spinning wheels out there, but these are usually not for sale, the spinners know what they have.

Most often we see Craigslist/ebay deals that are missing bobbins, or worse the flyer. Once we had a customer bring her antique wheel in the store and it did not even have an orifice. I had to disappoint the customer and tell her that "no way" this had even been spinning yarn, and that it just was a decorative spinning wheel. She then told me that she remembered her mother spinning on it. I was stumped, but she later came back in the store telling me that her mother when asked admitted she just "pretended" to spin, while playing with her daughter. Mystery solved.

The bottom line: If you want to buy an antique or used wheel, take a spinner with you who can try out the wheel for you, if you do not spin yourself. Make sure to buy only a brand name wheel, like Ashford, and finally if you buy it and parts are missing, be prepared to pay for custom woodworking for these parts (Big $$), or the possibility that your wheel will never work right. (sorry, we do not work on these) You can always use it as a deco item. Most important of all: Do NOT buy a spinning wheel that is in pieces. I know it's tempting, I personally do not have money to throw away. Sorry.

Happy Spinning,